Tagged ‘SC‘


The Thank You Project



Dear Five Guys Burgers and Fries—Vista,

I just enjoyed a great lunch at your restaurant. Of course, the food was good. It is always good!

Today, though, one of the best parts of my lunch was meeting the great employee who took my lunch order. Phillip was so funny and so nice I couldn’t help but feel uplifted as I waited for my food.

For the minute or so we chatted about my order, he was so delightfully engaging and funny I knew at once I would send you a letter about him. He was so full of personality I couldn’t help but talk to him again when I saw him at the back of the restaurant. I noticed he was equally kind to my lunch partner as well.

Employees like Phillip are an exception. I took time to thank him in person for being so kind today and he was very humble and thankful.

I want you to know how much I appreciate him, as well.

You should be very proud to have an employee like Phillip behind the counter. He makes your customers’ experience so much more than an everyday lunch.

My experience with him made my afternoon brighter.



Julie Turner

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith letter writing and blog project. I’m recognizing and thanking people who enrich my life and make my community an even better place to live. 

Forest Acres Restaurant and Merchant Association



Dear Forest Acres Restaurant and Merchant Association,

I have lived in Forest Acres for years. I love everything about this community, from the rambling 1950’s homes to the tall leafy trees. It’s a neighborhood rich with character. That’s one of the main reasons we chose to live here.

Another thing I’ve come to appreciate more and more is Forest Acres residents’ undeniable sense of community. There’s a spirit of togetherness and familiarity that adds value to our homes.

Local events, like your fantastic Rooftop Rhythms atop Richland Mall, are opportunities for us to gather together to celebrate our community as good friends and neighbors. Every time we go, we stay later than we plan to and I have even more fun than I did the last time. In-between the music and laughs, I often look over the crowd and thank my lucky stars to be a part of something — somewhere — so wonderful.

I’m grateful to be a part of this community and proud my children are growing up in a neighborhood where we can play, learn, live and enjoy so much.

Thank you for investing in Forest Acres and its residents. Your events and businesses are carving out a pretty sweet spot in the big picture that’s Columbia, SC. And the picture just keeps getting better and better!


Julie Turner


The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith blog project recognizing people who need to be thanked more often for their many contributions to our lives and communities. 




As we entered the Longhorn Steakhouse Sunday night my thoughts were nowhere near customer service or the Thank You Project. Mainly I wanted to get us and the kids fed and finished quickly before Matchbox cars started flying across the restaurant. It had been a long day and could have been a long, very unrelaxing meal with two tired, silly kids. It turned out to be a better meal because of one very nice server: Layla.


Dear Decker Boulevard Longhorn Steakhouse Manager,

My name is Julie Turner and I am a writer on a yearlong quest called The Thank You Project. Once a week for the next year, I am thanking someone who quietly makes my life or community better. I had a plan for this week’s letter but it changed when my family dined at your restaurant this past weekend.

We were lucky to have one of the best servers I have ever had in my life: Layla.

Usually when you go to a restaurant, the servers are nice. Of course they are. It’s how they earn their living. Your employee Layla took nice to an entirely different level. One you don’t see very often in a bustling restaurant during the dinner rush.

Layla was sensitive we waited even though it was just a few moments after we were seated. She talked and joked with our two young children as we went through the chaos of ordering. She spent time talking to us and provided many options. As our meal went on, she checked on us just as much as we needed.

While it may not seem like much, it was how Layla took care of my family that was striking. She was kind and patient, which anyone who dines with kids can appreciate. But beyond simple kindness, Layla was sincere. She was truly interested in us and wanted us to have only the best experience in your restaurant.

Those are special qualities in any employee whatever your business or profession.

I wanted you to know our experience at your restaurant was just fine. But our experience with Layla left an even greater impression. She is an incredible asset to your staff.

Julie Turner

The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith blog project recognizing people who need to be thanked more often for their many contributions to our lives and communities. 

City of Columbia Water Department


I spent Christmas day at home with my family. I had coffee, lounged about in my jammies and played with my kids in front of a roaring fire. A pretty blissful day in my book.

Outside it was dreary. It rained and got colder as the day went on. A few miles from my warm happy ranch, a crew of City of Columbia Water Department workers spent most of the day fighting with a broken water line. This week’s Thank You Project letter is for them. Sure it’s a job, but one that called them away from their homes, outside, in the rain, all day, on Christmas Day.


Dear City of Columbia Water Department,

While many of us celebrated Christmas day snug in our homes, I know at least one city water crew didn’t have that luxury. Water mains break even during Christmas.

I live in the Satchel Ford neighborhood of Forest Acres where many homes were without water most of Christmas day. What’s far worse than not being able to take a shower is that so many people had to work to repair that water main — for the majority of the day and into the night — on one of the biggest holidays of the year.

It’s safe to say, having clean water come from all the faucets is something we take for granted. It’s easy to forget how many people it takes to make good water possible. And we do have great water!

So thank you to all of you who keep us clean and hydrated. And, a special thanks to those of you who are always there for the emergencies, breaks and floods.

Whether it’s a plain old Wednesday or the year’s biggest holiday, I am grateful for all of the work you do for our city.

Julie Smith Turner


The Thank You Project is a yearlong Wordsmith blog project recognizing people who need to be thanked more often for their many contributions to our lives and communities. 





The first letter of the Thank You Project went to Philips Motor Company, a Columbia auto dealer and repair shop. Their service manager inspired this yearlong project, which recognizes people who need to be thanked more often for their many contributions to our lives and communities. Thanks, Jason!


Dear Philips,

I have been a customer for many years and a few different cars. One reason we prefer you for automotive work is your great employees. Recently, I was so impressed with Jason, the service manager, I started a yearlong blog project thanking the people who brighten my days and life.

Jason is so knowledgeable and friendly. When I see him, he never seems rushed or dismissive of me, which can easily happen to a woman at a garage. Jason is genuinely nice and takes care of his customers in every way. He calls if he says he’s going to call. He lets you know immediately if there is a part supply issue or some reason your car may need to stay an extra day. He smiles and speaks with meaning. He explains things clearly and wants to be sure you have all the answers you want.

He treats your customers like family no matter how busy he or the garage is that day.

Congratulations! You have a great ambassador for your company and I wanted to be sure you know that.

Many thanks,

Julie Turner


PS: I would be very remiss to not thank you for Sherman, too. He knows our cars so well and has helped us as well. There aren’t very many garages where you know a brand specialist is working on your car!

Blogging for others.

Every time I go see my dentist I say I am going to blog about them. Well, this week I finally did over on the Riggs Partners’ R-blog. Other physician practices could learn a great deal from Dr. Thomas Pitts and the Pitt Crew. They consistently have happy employees and very happy patients. They truly get something a lot of practices don’t. Read their secrets here.

For the love of letterpress.

When I was an art director, I fell in love with letterpress printing. Never used it, but loved it. Much like you covet that really sweet car, but you never quite get around to owning it. I finally got it. The letterpress, that is.

When I saw the fantastic logo Crescendo Advertising’s Melissa Ligon dreamed up for my copywriting venture, my first thought was: it’s absolutely perfect! A few seconds later I realized it would look unbelievable in letterpress. That’s how I ended up at Copperdog Press last Friday morning.

Jeff and Donna Neese have two Chandler & Price letterpress printers that must be seen to be believed (if you’re a printing nerd like me). Both printers have been “upgraded” so they are no longer powered by foot petals, but beyond that are much the same as they were a hundred years ago.

Using plates special-ordered from a Syracuse, NY shop, Jeff carefully adjusts the depth of the impression and the thickness of the ink using makeready sheets. Then once everything is just right, the real paper goes on and off by hand with each pass of ink. The gentle clank, clank, clank of the printing process is so soft and solid it could lull you to sleep (if you weren’t so excited).

It’s amazing to see letterpress in action in this day and age. If you’ve ever witnessed a giant Heidelberg churning out sheet after sheet, the presses are fast, loud and take little work from the pressmen once they’re up and running. Letterpress is quiet, hand-fed and takes craftsmanship to reach the perfect imprint depth and ink coverage.

Letterpress is not cheap, but it’s also not unaffordable either. It’s a level of quality not often seen in today’s turn and burn world. At first, printing the cards letterpress was scratching a long-felt itch. But now that they’re in my hands, I see there’s more to it than that.

When I look at this card, it reminds me of what I strive to do each day. Anyone can write, but some people have a knack for shaping words and sentences into stories that engage minds and hearts. When I run my fingers over the soft, dimpled paper, I feel craftsmanship. And that’s what I want to deliver on every project, too.